October 30, 2017 Special Meeting Summary



City Hall – Council Chambers on October 30, 2017, 7:30 PM

ROLL CALL - 9 members answered – Mr. Cumston, Mr. Thomas, Ms. Blevins, Ms. Cunningham, Mr. Huddle, Mr. Norris, Mr. Daniels, Ms. Gustin, Ms. Fisher; Mr. Ratliff is absent.




Topic:      Allowing Medical Marijuana within Marion City limits.

Mr. Cumston spoke: There are a of studies out there that it helps people. The purpose tonight is how we feel about it. If it does come to the city, I think it should be in our commercial area. I don’t know what the use would be. The fees, 10.8 million in fees, annual fees about 70 million. That’s a lot. Marion can expect to see 4-8,000 people a month. That’s a lot of traffic in a residential/commercial area. The ladies from last week voiced a lot of concerns. Lady I’ve known since 1973, her doctor prescribes it, it is a medicine to treat. Only 1 person that called me supports recreational use. The Chief had some valid concerns also, he has awoken some us also. What if you took the medicine and were driving, how do you tell, how do you test for it. There is a lot of issues out there. Are we prepared for that large number of persons? If it works outside the City limits, it would be sales tax. If we have to stretch our safety sources, that would be a concern.

          Ms. Gustin spoke: we are wounded community from the opioid problem we have, the timing is poor. It turns out to be that way. Unethical way of doctors with prescriptions with the opioid epidemic. I don’t think this is not the time for us. We have before us ordinances, we have not had the opportunity for committee meetings. These meetings should come before this meeting.

          Mr. Huddle said last week a dispenser came to us, I didn’t know he was coming. At that time, I was not in favor of it. The Chief showed a place out in CA, but they don’t all look like that. If a dispenser is granted, it should be outside the City. I didn’t like the building they were looking at – Downtown with sidewalks. I was at a function, there was some pharmacists there, head of major companies here in Marion. A head of Government. The pharmacists were not against it. Not only of the economy, he said it’s going to regulated by the State Board of Pharmacy. I’ve had cancer for 5 years now, I have taken trips to Columbus on different occasions. I’m offered anything I want for pain. The doctors ask how is your pain. Ok, what do you need. It’s an alternative. I don’t get in a car and take one of my oxycodone to drive. I know some people do; they drive on Marijuana. I try not to look at this a moral issue, a medical issue. Look at it to better the economy in Marion. Bring in a Walgreens in the City, they have pharmacy’s in there, and they sell opioids. This would be the same thing, but they sell medical marijuana.  I don’t see the difference.

          Mr. Cumston said Mrs. Gustin made a good point. The deadline with the applications. Speak about an issue, we opened it up for anybody. This is for information. Next week come to the committees next week. It looks like we’ll get a lot of information tonight.

          Ed McCants 1082 E Center St. spoke: I have done a lot of research on this. If we are going to improve Marion County, we need to do what the other communities are doing. He spoke about Delaware County. He supports this.

          Ryan Hord, 375 W Center St. spoke: There are a lot of businesses gaining steam from this new industry you are seeing. 2007 there was a huge hit on the economy. We saw double digit losses. Because of these industries I’ve been able to increase our sales; hire two new employees because of them. I’ve brought samples of containers. Listed on the labels, do not drive. I encourage you to consider this. We’ve grown more as a business, and hired more people.  

          Tom Harrin, North Royalton, Ohio spoke after a roll call for acceptance to speak @ Council. I’m an Attorney who represent Mother Earths Meds who is located here in Marion. There is a 25% reduction in pain killer deaths. States with Med. Mari. have seen a reduction. 10% reduction of male suicides. Decrease in crime and an increase in property values because of the strict security with video surveillance, maybe a security person at the facility. When you increase economic in the development, there is more economic development following it. Ohio is the most regulated in the Ohio States. Dept. of Commerce and the Board of Pharmacy. Dispensaries are regulated more than regular pharmacies. When you walk into a pharmacy, you and see the drugs right there, when you walk into the medical marijuana dispensary in Ohio, you walk into a waiting room, it will be very small. You can’t get passed without a certification as a patient. Anybody from the public cannot get into the dispensary. You must get buzzed back, they meet with the person, 15-20 action in total. The State is expecting 4,000 – 51,000 patients throughout the State; that a low number. Even at 51,000 there are only 60 dispensaries state wide. A recreational market there is a lot foot traffic all the time, with Medical Marijuana you don’t get that. Patient Education Policy – approved by somebody in the medical field. Continuing education for the employees on Med. Mari. Physicians have to be certified, with continuing education requirements.  Ohio can have one of the first states with a bulk for data. It cannot be smoked, vaporized. It will be tested in labs before provided to the dispensaries. Seek and sell tracking system. 12” in height, slapped with a tag and then tracked for growing, harvested, trimmed and then processed. They have to put in a large amount of data into a computer system. They will be able to monitor their usage. Patients can only purchase a 90 day supply. A very regulated tracked, marked record throughout the State.  In every city, there are patients that are using it right now, probably from a drug dealer. If a dispensary locates in Marion, it provides access to patients that suffer from Cancer, MS, chronic pain, to avoid the black market.

          Mr. Cumston said there is no recreational market – Mr. Harrin said yes. It allows patients to avoid the black market. Ms. Gustin said I had a friend that fought cancer for 5 years, she was able to get a capsule form of marijuana, what is the difference between that and what you have.

          Mr. Harrin said it can be purchased in a variety of forms. Vapor, oils in capsules, tinctures, patches. You will be able to use in a capsule form and edibles. Mrs. Gustin said if it worked for her, why would we add to it, it that is already available. Why would be interested, if it’s available so many years past, why so intriguing? Mr. Harrin said there is in 2 forms, the Entourage Effect. THC is the same in any plant, no matter way you extract it. What’s different is terpene profiles. We are learning that this terpene might be great to help you sleep if you have chronic pain. It might be better to address if you have Parkinson’s. They work into conjunction with THC extracts in medical marijuana as opposed to the pharmaceuticals elsewhere.

          Mr. Norris asked how does this effect employer drug testings. Mr. Harrin said it does not at all affect them. The only change to Ohio Public Law, if an employee is fired for using Med. Marj. That employee can obtain unemployment benefits.

          Mr. Thomas said if I had knee surgery and go back to work and get drug tested for opioid, that would be the same. Mr. Harrin said that Opioid was prescribed by a doctor. Mr. Thomas said this would be different in the work force. Mr. Harrin said it would have greater protections for the Employer. Mr. Thomas said not the employee, the Employer. Mr. Harrin said yes.

          Mr. McCants said it’s being sold outside right now, it’s the most drug used in America. We are talking about the increasing the regulations for it.

          Mr. Hord said consider the patient in this, they want access to health care.

          Mr. Nathan Haynes, 2625 Lee Road spoke: I’m a recovering Heroin addict. 6 years clean now. I’m from Colorado.  They have Medical and Recreational there. They have only a few counties that can distribute it.  They have seen a huge growth in entertainment, a lot more people coming to that City. I do not Condon drug use, I do not think Marijuana is a viable solution for Heroin. I do not think it should be used for recovery, when it comes to heroin. It does have its uses for it medically. My mother has seizures – 6-8 a day. She’s been taking marijuana and her seizures have been reduced to 1-2 a week.

          Mr. Thomas said it’s a lot different in Colorado, it won’t the same here. Mr. Harrin said it would be totally different than Colorado. Mrs. Gustin asked if she took the Marijuana with or without a prescription. Mr. Haynes said with a prescription.

          Chief Collins said you have to look no further than a layman’s explanation, and paid attorney explanation for whoever he is representing. He’s very skilled at it and makes a good argument. Mr. Hord spoke about the benefits on his company, you make the Marion Made sticker, no marijuana leaf on the Marion Made Sticker. Tug of war between business – the dollar factor that’s attached of what’s going to happen. The Medicinal purposes – we can speak on it all night. They have a current medicine for that that’s it’s not illegal. All the cash at these dispensaries, they can’t put it in the banks, it’s a federal thing. If you talk to the people at street level, it’s been a trying time for them if you have to go through this. It’s up to you the consumer with a medical card – a recommendation from a doctor; get the Marijuana. I can’t believe you are having such a topic discussion, when we are asking the schools to enforce the drug issue in schools. Use your common sense. Is it somebody making a lot of money.

          Mr. Daniels asked to have the new people speak before others coming up.

          Greg Sens, 1300 Delaware Ave. spoke: it’s a location where it can’t be seen, not in the downtown area. We keep a clean operation. I’ve known Chip for many years. We want a good clean operation, it will be strict. We have plenty of parking, it’s on the south end of the town, we are in the City.

          Chip Kepford spoke: we are trying to put together quite a team sitting here. Pharmacist with 15 years’ experience. Drugs that are out there that are more addictive. We are trying to do this as a very clean dispensary. Greg is going to be on the Board of Director’s. I’ve been in business for 41 years, and lived in the same place for almost 60 years. As far as the police concerns, it troubles me. I’ve been to lots of dispensaries, a lot of misconceptions of how they are. The crapiest dispensaries has been nicer than any doctor’s office I’ve been in Marion; that one was in California. Marijuana in general, there is no lethal dose. I know of people dying of alcohol poisoning. If you want to put a ban on something, why not pick on alcohol. We are a country of drinkers. We put together, independent facts, research on what’s it’s done, crime, heroin, overdose. We are not the 1st state that’s done it. We are the 26th. There is real data out there of facts, of crime, property values, the really big groups that oppose Medical Marijuana; one is big Pharma; they spent 37 million in Ohio to vote No on Issue 2; the other is the drug cartel. Crime has not increased – it’s a fact. I want that clear, do your own research. It’s a big decision, look at the facts. Security – 20 years in the Military Police. – He’s starting a new company for security just for Ohio. Ryan Hord explained about the labeling and packaging. You have the opportunity for a clean operation; I’m not going anywhere. Mr. Sens is not going anywhere. A pharmacist will be the director of this. November 3 – 17 will be accepting applications. It’s a one-time shot, a moratorium won’t work. Mrs. Gustin asked if he is only interested in the dispensary or both the cultivation process. He said just because us submit an application, it doesn’t mean anything. I’m a farmer, and to do it right, the grow process, dispensary. I don’t know much about retail, but my team does. I signed a franchise agreement vetting companies that know how to run and set up a dispensary. It took a year picking a franchise that I’m comfortable with. I may not get a cultivation license. I’ll do it north end of the County, nobody will see it.

          Mr. Daniels said there are two ordinances in front of us, next committee meeting will before us, a prohibition or a moratorium. I wouldn’t spend 5,000 dollars with what I heard tonight, the City of Marion would decide to place a prohibiting or a moratorium. The Greencamp issue, the Mayor said we had a option to do both of those things. That was in June. This is the last minute to get their license. In fairness I think we know how a few of these councilmen would vote. I would vote against it. I would not support without a lot further discussion which I’m at liberty of. Mr. Kepford said this is in your court now. You have a the choice of 2 boxes to pick. There’s zoning or there isn’t zoning; that has to be in the application, signed by authorized individual. Council member or Mayor? It’s not for or against, 1300 has to be on that – a specific location. What’s the disposition of the time it’s dated and signed. There is no moratorium. You sign that today for a moratorium, it’s an invalid application. It’s time boggling right now. The perfect location is with Mr. Sens. That’s proximity to the doctors, they are mostly in that area. Geographical location is part of the scoring on that application. It’s not in a residential area. Mr. Sens is right there, all day long. Ohio has more regulations than any other state. Mrs. Gustin stated that this will come before my Committee; I don’t have a meeting with Regional Planning until next Friday to discuss all the areas of zoning. Mr. Kepford said it’s either zoned commercial or it’s not. Mrs. Gustin said I need to talk to them of the zoning possibilities. I need the time to do that.

Mr. Daniels said if it comes out of my committee, it’s one of these two. Zoning – some reasonable control of zoning. That would give the City some restriction. Why are we having this debate anyway after listening to your attorney? People are going to go home and pick up some illegal weed, and not pay the prices. Mr. Kepford said Colorado has no restrictions. Mr. Daniels said he said 400.00 if you buy it legally. Colorado has no restrictions, it’s dropped the price for black market and the legal growers. It’s wiped out the black market. They are growing it outside. They have the climate that works. You have an over-supply in Col. The only states with trouble with the black market, they come in a put on extra taxes, people then go to the black market. Med. Mari. should beat the black market price. That’s a misconception with 400.00. You have better quality with the Medical. You can’t get that from the thug on the corner.

Parker Lawrence, 1104 N. Main stated with Col. It’s not a good model to look at. 6-7 million people, they are still a patient population. People that truly need the medication, talk with the doctor; they are using it as a medicine. I’m supporting my company, 1st cannabis info line. 62% of the US with Cannabis on the books. We also have another division – state provider for education requirements to continuing medical education to doctors, registered nurses. We are the 1st approved educator in Ohio. Doctors have to go through the training, the requirements – 3-4 months with the Ohio State Medical Association.  My company does not invest in any operation in the state of Ohio. We hold it to education and compliance in the Country. It’s going to be legal in the State of Ohio, and we will get it to the people that do need it.

Michael Pack, long-time recovery person, stated I’m from Marion, I was born addicted. Spoke on his addition and life. Medical Marijuana does help people; but believes it won’t help heroin addiction persons. Those persons that have died started out smoking joints. It’s been on the platform for economic building, I don’t feel that is the case.

Clint Edgington, Columbus, handed out papers to Council. There will be less opiates up front when they switch to cannabis. If there is a prohibition or a moratorium before Nov. 17, the application will be intake.  If you choose, you can look at the application and figure out the zoning. Ms. Gustin said you do get your money back? He said Nov. 17 to the time of the application is awarded, yes.

Dan Giles, 381 W Center St. stated that I do now people that have taken opioids by prescription and that have come addicted. I would like to have that choice to get an opioid or medical Marijuana. I don’t want to go to Bucyrus to get it. To prohibit a dispensary for coming in here would be a disadvantage.

Mr. James Dicer, 198 w center st. asked what the expected revenue like Marion would make? I would assume you did market research similar to Marion. Mr. Harron said a lot of the expected revenue is patient count. If Ohio has 4,000 patients the first months, they would lose money for the first year; and aren’t breaking even until 2 or 3 in. With a new market like this is difficult. Mr. Dicer said what would you expect after it’s up and running. Mr. Harron said I don’t have those numbers. Mr. Dicer asked about the money can’t go into a bank, where does it go? Mr. Harron said that’s a misconception about not going into a bank. There are bank service in Col; Fla. If they are servicing a cannabis account – they need to know some sort of a matrix of that account. We don’t have a market yet in Ohio. I fully expect us to have banks. There is a close loop payment system, the Dept. of Commerce – preload debit cards through State Agencies. They are using a Credit Union in Col. Every dispensary is cashless. Before Congress to ease banking restrictions. Lack of transparency, they can be fixed. There will be banks to service this market. Mr. Dicer said I’m glad you bought up that information. How much you are making is strange. Mr. Harrin said every sale would be tracked through every State system. They are going to know who it went to within 5 minutes of each sale. The state will have a good idea when, where, who in real time. 24/7 video surveillance, except the bathrooms. They have to retain those recordings for 6 months at a minimum. All of the financial records for a number of years, 5 years, all books, all transactions maintained on premises. When they want it, they got it.

Clint Eddington said not that the customer can use, they will use it, Applications need to be put in place with cash. Mrs. Blevins said November 17 – we have to make that decision by November 17? You can make the decision whenever you want, but it hurts me later. Anything after November 17 – they go to the trash, I get my 5,000 back. Mr. Kepford asked what ties do you have in Marion? Clint said I have relatives in Bucyrus. Mrs. Gustin said you raised your hand on the amount of money Marion would make. Clint said it varies. AZ has about the same amount of dispensaries as we do. Just in talking to different people, high performance one, probably ½ million a month.

Pastor Tom Toney asked what the feedback from constituents? Mr. Cumston said a lot of people supported medical, only one supported recreational. The people deserve to know – I don’t support the recreational use. The people I spoke to they weren’t really opposed to the medical. I think most people are ok with it – they trust their doctors.

Mr. Thomas said back in 2015, up for election, at that same time issue 2 was on the ballot for recreational and medical, if you look at issue 2 and see how people voted on that, you will see that it was voted down, city was even worse. In my campaigning in 2015, I talked to was in favor of the medical and not the recreational so they voted against it. The medical side people are supporting. I had a knew replacement in 2014, I didn’t use opioids, I used Tylenol extra strength. The medical extra strength really didn’t work. Mrs. Gustin said I’m hearing the pro, but they don’t want the dispensary, it would cause more problems if it was in Marion.

Mr. Daniels said my stepmother used it – it took away the fear. Every bad decision started with fear. I can think of two clinics in town, not a peek from the public. A pain center south of town, people walk in and walk out. They are walking out with opioids leaving bottle after bottle in the community. A dispensary with medicinal marijuana, you can’t advertise with a pot leaf on the front. We have it associated with an illicit drug. You don’t take pain medicine for recreational either. Dispensary doesn’t scare me, there is a good use for it. Mr. Norris said most people I spoke to are 50/50. The one thing that worries me is future economic development. Factory being built in Marion, we are in competition with Hardin County. Marion has access with Medical Marijuana, would that company pick Hardin County?

Pastor Toni said consider the perspective of our community. You are in an incredible spot. What do they feel the decision will be all about. How will they continue with their community? Who are we as a community, what are we about? What will our community think? What will it say to them? The battle for perception is huge. How will this push us forward? It’s just something to think about.

Jason Schaber, 359 Rosewood Dr. trouble trying to figure the state and federal law conflict. Federal law it is a schedule 1 drug. What’s going to stop a lawyer in Marion County, picked up for recreational marijuana had the same amount or less than medical marijuana. There is a conflict of laws. These dispensaries, are we setting them up for the federal gov’t to come in after them. What’s stopping the federal government for coming in these cities because of large number of drugs.

Mr. Harrin said there are a couple of things. 2013 Deputy attorney general James Cole issued a second of 2 memos to federal prosecutors. State law is in conflict of Federal. Drug law is the job of state and local law enforcement. Federal does not get in involved unless there are 8 instances. Diversion to minors, money converted to a Cartel, pretext, diversion. Those are some of the things that the Federal Gov’t. might get involved with. If someone is in strict compliance under State law, the issue will be dismissed. There are some protections in place. It does offer some protection with people medical marijuana patients.

Mr. Huddle asked Mr. Kepford if he supplies his own security. Mr. Kepford said it’s up to the owner of the dispensary, all State regulated armed, trained security 24/7 boots on the ground – trained, licensed security. I will be responsible for all the security. It’s all under the dispensary. Same with transporting – all state regulations.

Rhonda Columber, Clinton St. said I’m a medical marijuana patient, I have a deferment defense in Toledo, Ohio. Concerning the police you already have a test involved for the testing marijuana, alcohol. Medications, I’m no longer am taking any pain, high blood pressure and anxiety medication.  The dispensary is holistic environment. They are informative, educational experience. They tell you the problems you are going through, they will walk you through the process. My license is 662 in the State of Ohio. There are around of 1600 numbers on their license. Hopefully I’ll be able to go to a doctor here instead of Toledo. 

Mr. Thomas said the form that you had do we have a copy of that, Mr. Kepford said I’ll make sure you get that. Cheryl Kepford gave a copy to the Clerk.

Ms. Fisher said you are going to recap on this topic – will have committee on November 6, Legislation Codes at 6:40 PM and Zoning and Annexation @ 6:50 PM.

With no further business to come before Council, Ms. Fisher adjourned the meeting.


                                                            ____________________________                                                            Kate Fisher                                                                                             President of Council



Clerk of Council